Prof. Joy Onyesoh, National Coordinator, Nigerian Women’s Status Room made this known at the launch of the Center in Abuja.
According to Onyesoh, over the years and past election observation, the group has identified elections as a trigger for conflicts that make it difficult for women to participate in the electoral process.
She said that Women’s Situation Room Nigeria (WSRN) is an initiative led by women from civil society that seeks to increase the substantive participation of women in the political process and conflict prevention in accordance with UNSCR 1325.
“Nigeria has struggled in recent years to prevent the incidence of election-related violence against women (VAWE).
From observing staggered and general elections above, WSRN identified that violence against women in elections is a challenge and impedes Nigeria’s ability to conduct free, fair and inclusive elections.
“The published report of our analysis of the 2019 party primaries also identified the forms of violence experienced in politics.
“The more efforts are made to overcome this threat to democracy, the more hydra’s head grows. ”
Onyesoh said election-related violence in Nigeria could be grouped into pre-election, election and post-election violence.
He said it has advanced understanding of conflict and strategies to address it, which forms the basis of why the center is being launched.
The National Coordinator said that WSRN was created with an understanding of the gendered and dynamic nature of violence and the fact that elections trigger conflict in most African countries.
Onyesoh said it therefore became imperative that women develop a mechanism to counteract this pattern.
She said that WSRN’s goal is to ensure that all elections in Nigeria are peaceful and that women and youth play a critical role in maintaining and building peace at the community, state and national levels.
He said that based on lessons learned from the 2019 presidential election, the 2021 Anambra state election, and the 2022 Ekiti and Osun elections that just concluded, WSRN saw the need for urgent interventions.
She said that an early situation analysis of violence against women would help define the nature and scope of the problem in the local context and map the perceptions and experiences of key stakeholders in relation to the problem.
Onyesoh said existing strategies and activities to address the problem would be identified.
It is on this note that the WSRN is having the launch of its Early Warning and Response Center (EWAR).
“It is worth noting that WSRN piloted the first EWAR center in 2021 during the Anambra gubernatorial election.
“This center served as a preventive and response framework for VAW issues in the electoral cycle in the state.”
Onyesoh said that with the upcoming general election in 2023, the organization officially launched the Early Warning and Response Center at FCT.
This, he said, was a preventive framework through data collection and analysis, early warning, response and reporting with the support of UN WOMEN and the Government of Canada.
He called on all stakeholders to engage with the WSRN and support the process through data and information sharing, partnerships, feedback, and more.
Source Credit: NAN